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sycamore

[sik-uh-mawr, -mohr]
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noun
  1. Also called buttonwood. any of several North American plane trees, especially Platanus occidentalis, having shallowly lobed ovate leaves, globular seed heads, and wood valued as timber.
  2. British. the sycamore maple.
  3. a tree, Ficus sycomorus, of the Near East, related to the common fig, bearing an edible fruit.

Origin of sycamore

1300–50; Middle English sicomore < Old French < Latin sȳcomorus < Greek sȳkómoros, equivalent to sŷko(n) fig + mór(on) mulberry + -os noun suffix, apparently by folk etymology < Semitic; compare Hebrew shiqmāh sycamore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sycamore

sycamore

noun
  1. a Eurasian maple tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, naturalized in Britain and North America, having five-lobed leaves, yellow flowers, and two-winged fruits
  2. US and Canadian an American plane tree, Platanus occidentalisSee plane tree
  3. Also: sycomore a moraceous tree, Ficus sycomorus, of N Africa and W Asia, having an edible figlike fruit

Word Origin

C14: from Old French sicamor, from Latin sӯcomorus, from Greek sukomoros, from sukon fig + moron mulberry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sycamore

n.

mid-14c., from Old French sicamor, from Latin sycomorus, from Greek sykomoros, from sykon "fig" + moron "mulberry." Or perhaps a folk-etymology for Hebrew shiqmah "mulberry." A Biblical word, originally used for a species of fig tree (Ficus sycomorus) common in Egypt, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry; applied from 1580s to Acer pseudoplatanus, a large species of European maple, and from 1814 to the North American shade tree that is also called buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis, introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by Filius Tradescant). Some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in reference to the Biblical tree for the sake of clarity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper